Mum and Ukrainian refugee "family for life" after they moved in together last year
A mum who welcomed Ukrainian refugees into her home last year says they have become "family for life" - and taking them in was the "best decision". Single mum Aimee Stott, 30, made the decision to take in a mother and her child fleeing Ukraine last year. After finding them on social media, Aimee and her two sons welcomed Olesia Skora, 35, and her four-year-old son into their home. Aimee, from Bridgend, South Wales, even paid for their flights to bring them over to the UK in April 2022. Ten months on, Aimee, a stay-at-home mum, says it was the "best decision" and Olesia and her son are now "family". They are even looking to find a home of their own - and while she's happy for them, Aimee said she "can't imagine them not being here". Aimee said: "When we first met, Olesia and her son couldn't speak a word of English - we used miming and animal noises to communicate. "But I never once had a moment where I wondered if I had made a mistake. "It has been so rewarding to watch Olesia and her son blossom here in the UK and I feel so lucky. "I already have two sisters but Olesia feels like a third and I know they'll never be out of my life now. "Taking them in was the best decision I've ever made and I'll never regret it." Aimee first spoke to Olesia back when the war first started, after Aimee made a post offering a room for refugees on a Facebook page. Olesia and her son, whose name they didn't want to share, had been at risk of bombardment at their home in Dnipro. Aimee said: "I was talking to her on Facebook messenger and at one point Olesia said she had to run off because she heard a siren. "That's when reality hit and I said yes. I filled in the visa form the next day." Olesia and her son took a two-day train ride from their home to Lviv, Ukraine, and from there took another train to Przemysl, Poland and then to Katowice. After battling paperwork, they flew from Katowice to Bristol airport after Aimee booked them tickets. She met her two new houseguests for the first time on April 12 last year. Olesia and her son moved into Aimee's spare room with just a rucksack each, having left behind Olesia's husband and their whole family. The refugees would first communicate with their hosts using Google Translate as well as making noises and miming. Over the months the two single-parent families bonded as the Ukrainians learnt English and began to build their new life. Ten months on, Aimee considers Olesia a "sister" and says her two sons Oscar, 10, and Harrison, eight, see Olesia's son as a brother. Aimee considers it her "best decision" and the two families are as close as if they were related by blood. The former refugees are now both settled in the UK, having learnt English, and Olesia has a job working into a school kitchen. Aimee revealed Olesia and her son are even now on the hunt for their own place, having built a new life. Aimee said: "It's been so rewarding watching her blossom. "Olesia doesn't even need me anymore, she does everything herself. "She works in a school, has friends and colleagues. "She arrived with just a rucksack and now she owns a fridge and a freezer and is looking for her own home to put them in. "When they arrived, I felt like Olesia's mum when she first came, but now she's like my sister instead - she doesn't need my help anymore. "She has also helped me in so many ways, I just feel lucky to have met Olesia and her son. "They are both wonderful humans and now they're family. "Taking in refugees was one of the best decisions I've ever made."